How To...Happily
Work From Home

A functional home office is essential whether or not you work from home. While you may be satisfied with just a phone and a computer on a desk, ask yourself if you have a productive home office.

Woman working from homeThere is a lot more that goes into setting up a motivating home office than just a few pieces of furniture and a phone. Learning how to make a home office work for your needs is simple and, by getting started today, you'll be one step closer to having an inspiring workplace just down the hall.

Step 1: Find A Workspace and get rid of the junk

A home office tends to be where mail, old magazines and other household junk accumulates. However, having a productive workday starts with having a clutter free office, so begin by determining what you will use on a regular basis.

Anything that hasn't been touched in months, or even years, needs to make its way to the trash. As you make progress in this area, you'll be alleviating stress with each trip to the trash.

Another way to eliminate stress is to designate a specific room/area as your home office. Your kitchen table or living room couch will not suffice because you'll be distracted every five minutes and when you're not working, you'll be reminded of your work every time you walk past. Be sure to dedicate an area just for work and then move on to step two.

Step 2: Prioritize

The second step in learning how to make a home office work is by prioritizing which items will help you be productive and which ones won't. If you have a radio in your home office, for example, but the sports stats end up distracting you every two minutes, it is time for your radio to find a home in another room. This also goes for the TV, computer games, magazines, and anything else that will distract you from working. If it doesn't contribute to your work, it doesn't belong in your home office.

Step 3: Figure out lighting

Nothing is more annoying than working in a poorly lit space. Lights that are too bright or too dim can result in eye strain and just aren't motivating. You'll end up getting less work done, which is counterproductive to the whole concept of a home office. Aim for natural light sources if possible and stay away from fluorescents. Along with lighting, make sure your area is well ventilated and not too hot or too cold.

Step 4: Make it motivating

The final step in learning how to make a home office work is to make it motivating. Do you have a favorite quote or a specific picture that motivates you each day? Maybe it is an award you've won, a picture of your family, or one of you crossing the finish line of a race. Whatever it is that motivates you, put it on the wall to remind yourself to stay focused. You will be more productive when you're comfortable and home offices are all about productivity.

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Comments on "How to make a home office work"

Hannah December 23, 2012 | 12:25 PM

I like the advice about making it motivating. I'm in the process of making a home office out of our spare bedroom and am excited. It's taking a lot longer than expected though.

Jen October 27, 2010 | 2:56 PM

I like the tip on making the space motivating. All too often, we get lost in the work itself and don't realize the importance a photo may have in terms of motivation.

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